Count your blessings

>> Friday, 2 November 2007

My Husband's family has an interesting history. Not like mine; born and bred in the UK, you don't get much more through and through English than us. To find anything interesting on us you need to go back 400 years when there is a chance - extremely remote - that we were descended from a sailor shipwrecked from the Spanish Armada. This is based on the flimsiest of circumstancial evidence, such as the fact that my maternal grandmother's maiden name was Pope; that she, her family (including my cousins and I - a little) look like Moors or Morroccans (in the right light); and that in Dorset, where the family originates, this sort of link is not uncommon.

Flimsy links indeed.

But Husband's family; their tales are the stuff of movies and best-selling blockbusters in a Wild Swans styley. Ever since I found out about it I've been trying to uncover more, and this year my mother-in-law (partly to get me off her back, I think) persuaded her aunt to put some of her reminiscences down on paper. Together with what my MIL (Milly from now on) remembers being told by her own mother this has been condensed into a story, and I've spent the last few evenings editing it and getting it into a suitable state to be self-published via Lulu.com, for the family only.

My god, what a story. In brief, Husband's grandmother and great aunt were of Dutch extraction (mostly, with a few more exotic strains thrown in just for the fun of it), but were born and grew up in Indonesia from the beginning of the 20th century, and stayed there until just after the end of the 2nd World War. They went through the camps and came out the other side, not unscathed, but as two remarkable women.

Beginning to see where I'm going with this?

Something that Husband's Great Aunt wrote stays with me, and pulls me up short whenever I get frustrated with every-day life:

'My poor mum was stricken with grief. She lost her home, all her belongings, her husband and her youngest child in the space of one week.'

Without making light of the real problems I know many people face every day; do we really know we're born?

11 comments:

The Rotten Correspondent 2 November 2007 at 19:32  

It's always an eye-opener to read things like that. It really is all about the perspective, isn't it?

It's so easy to not see all the good things that are right in front of us in all the daily chaos.

Maybe we should all try a little harder.

Potty Mummy 3 November 2007 at 20:23  

Hi RC and Mya, you're so right. But also, I don't want to come over all pious & self-righteous - I was still cursing like a navvy under my breath when I couldn't get the straps done up on Boy #1's car seat this morning... We can't keep a sense of perspective all the time though, eh?

Frog in the Field 3 November 2007 at 22:49  

Very true, though when you're fighting with car seats and stroppy children it's not a consoling thought.
My MIL frequently reminds me of those tough times and losses, so much so that I always stick a fork into my leg if I'm having too good a time eating dinner and laughing with friends, just to make sure I'm suffering a little.

Potty Mummy 4 November 2007 at 12:10  

That sounds painful Frog - maybe you should just stick the fork in her leg instead?

menopausaloldbag (MOB) 5 November 2007 at 08:32  

I love your introduction about yourself. It had me chuckling away. Very funny lady and I will be back to read more of your stuff. People with a great sense of humour are such a blast and you have it.

Pig in the Kitchen 5 November 2007 at 22:10  

it kind of puts my 'oh i feel so fat' moaning into perspective.
Pigx

Frog in the Field 6 November 2007 at 20:12  

Excellent idea, I shall try it!

Potty Mummy 7 November 2007 at 11:04  

I've been off-line since Sunday so sorry these have taken a while...

Hi MOB, thanks for the visit and the kind words. And I still don't get to go to the loo with the door shut...

Hi Pig, perspective is a wonderful thing (she said, stuffing her face with two fun-size mars bars...).

Frog - obviously, don't tell her I suggested it. I think that mother-in-laws probably have some secret communication method and would hate mine to know I had such un-daughterly thoughts...

Tattie Weasle 8 November 2007 at 11:21  

As you said to mine: "CRIKEY!" They were a remarkable generation -well done for getting it down on paper! Otherwise these amazing stories will be gone...as tehy say: "Lest we forget"

Potty Mummy 8 November 2007 at 21:28  

Hi Tattie,

you're right, it would be a shame to lose all that. Unfortunately Husband's grandmother has already died, so the story can never really be completed as we don't have her side of it (and she found it so traumatic that she would never really speak of it, so we don't even have much hearsay), but at least we have something on paper now.

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